The servant leaders
“Servant- leaders achieve results for their organization by giving priority attention to the needs of the colleagues and those they serve. Servant- leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization's resources (human, financial, and physical)." (Wiki)
“Fons Trompenaars was an authority on managing cultural diversity, an acclaimed author, and advisor working with major cooperation's around the world. Trompenaars is a world-class management guru and author about business issues. He wrote his dissertation on the differences in conceptions or organizational structure in various cultures." (FONTRO) The other contributing author of “Power to the People”, Ed Voerman learned of servant leadership in 1998 and introduced it to his own company, Voerman International. He leads the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership that started out in the Netherlands as “The Academy for Servant Leadership”. Ed received a royal decoration in 2004 for his commitment to Greenleaf Servant Leadership. (Voerman)
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The article “Power to the People” starts out by discussing the downfalls of the “power' model of leadership. How power tends to corrupt people and make them lose sight of the real objective or mission of the company. The article described the need to bring in a new model of leadership that would benefit the company without putting people into conflict that would contribute to wasted energy and time for the organization. When implementing the servant leadership mode, serving and leading are combined to facilitate the followers and the leaders in the situation.
The ultimate goal of a company is to serve all stakeholders in the company in a positive way. Servant leadership accomplishes this goal by empowering the followers who in turn are able to better the companies output as a whole. The article gave the reader an example of servant leadership where large companies coming together would start by letting the employees meet and talk about their experience rather than have the two companies merge together with employees only hearing of the generalized concepts of the organization. The example showed how the goal of tow companies was accomplished by considering the employees first and letting them share their emotions with each other so they could see each other on a personal level rather than a company level. This merger based on servant leadership became a win-win situation.
Servant leaders are dedicated to maximizing the growth and knowledge base of their employees. In a the article “Examinations of leadership practices of principles indentified as servant leaders” the statement is made “that a leader demonstrates a selfless desire to both serve and prepare others” (Hutchinson, 402). I have observed in my work history both the power model of leadership and been most fortunate to encounter the servant-leader. As a registered nurse it is always a welcome change to have a nursing director who will contribute and “jump” right into a situation if that is what it takes to make the employee's day go a little better. There have been many rough days as a nurse on a medical-surgical floor where you can feel very overwhelmed and to know you can go to your director and ask for help with a task or even an emotional support makes for a better environment. Keeping the patient satisfied has always been a philosophy of hospitals so everyone has to be willing to do what it takes on those “crazy” days on the floor. Sometimes it was just ordering pizza for the staff when you as the director knew that it was going to be a busy day and it would be hard for some nurses to get off the floor long enough to eat lunch was all that was necessary. Other times it might require that the director come talk to a family member to answer questions while the nurse tended to another patient's needs on the floor. As director you might need to look at a staffing issue and see bring in more staff as to not overwhelm the employees and in turn have dissatisfied patients or family members. Servant leadership is utilized often in the medical field it would be hard to keep all stakeholders happy in the situation if not for a good nursing director. The power model I have recently encountered and really think I have seen the corruption that power can do to a person. Directors become uncaring in an organization and think more of themselves than of the employees or company. I have encountered where it was all about making the census so the director could achieve “good numbers” so they would make their bonuses. In this instance the only one benefiting from this way of thinking is the director themselves. The organization might assume that they are benefiting because the director “has stayed within the numbers” and in that way saving them money in the short term but that will change in the long range goals. If patient care suffers due to low staffing numbers then word of mouth will destroy a service oriented industry. As a paying customer in a restaurant would you return eat in a restaurant if you heard that the manager of that establishment was cutting corners in the kitchen by buying substandard supplies?
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Another aspect of servant leadership covered in the article “Power to the People” was learning. Learning is a large goal for healthcare organizations. Nurses have to stay current with the new concepts in medications and skills to keep an organization up and running. Patients do not want to go to a healthcare facility if the staff is not properly educated about skills and procedures, this would be a concern for survival. Who really wants to become a statistic in the healthcare world? In this way servant leadership would address this concern because a servant leader is “committed to the growth of employees”. (Spears, 51) A hospital paying for continuing education (CE) for the nursing staff is a good example of a positive way to handle this situation. Also a lot of health care facilities will reimburse staff for continuing their education if it enhances their skills for the facility. Sending staff to seminars to learn about a new way to manage malnutrition in the elderly or a new technique to handle decubis ulcers can only benefit all that are involved as stakeholders in a organization. Educating one person on each floor of a new procedure will enhance the resource base of that facility. Having good resource people in the healthcare field is always important to ensure that errors do not occur, not a good place to learn by your mistakes.
Servant leadership was the type of leader that Jesus portrayed. “Jesus washed his feet of his disciples, as an example of the way in which they were to serve each other”. (John 13: 12-15)
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